If you’re a movie buff, you love your behind the scenes facts. When it comes to the top holiday films you probably already know: Jim Carrey was a total Grinch on the set of How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Christmas Vacation was one of Johnny Galecki’s first movies; and Elf was filled with in-camera tricks to make Will Ferrell look like a giant among Santa’s tiny helpers. However, here a few lesser-known stories from behind the scenes of your favorite holiday classics.
When Harry Met Sally
Containing one of the most memorable confessions of love and definitely the best New Year’s Eve scene ever, When Harry Met Sally is a classic film that proves relationships (and life) don’t always go as planned. Part of what made the film feel so authentic were the real-life love stories sewn through the narrative. Those cute little interviews with elderly couples that popped up throughout the film were actually inspired by real love stories.
It is said Director Rob Reiner and his good friend and Screenwriter Nora Ephron interviewed various couples about their experiences falling for their soulmate. They then cast lovely actors like Connie Sawyer and Charles Dugan to retell the stories on screen. Easily the most endearing part of the film, the stories made us laugh a little, cry a little, and most importantly, believe in true love.
Die Hard is arguably one of the best Christmas films of all time (literally, people argue about it all the time). Perhaps one of the reasons fans engage with the movie more than other action films is their deep connection to John McClane and the familiarity of his flaws. The extra layer of emotion Bruce Willis brings to the character was likely missing from the script before screenwriter, Jeb Stuart, had a close call with a refrigerator box.
During a recent interview on Jeff Goldsmith’s podcast, Stuart recalled the moment that changed the direction of the script and redefined McClane’s character. After a fight with his wife, Stuart “stormed out of the house” and started his drive back to Burbank on the 134 freeway. While changing lanes he was shocked by a large refrigerator box in front of him. With no time and nowhere to go, he was forced to drive straight into the box. Luckily, it was empty, but the brush with death led to an epiphany. This story wasn’t just an action movie, “It’s about a 30-year-old guy who should have said sorry to his wife.”
McClane’s reluctance to admit his wrongdoing follows him throughout the story and culminates in the film’s most human scene; his apology to his wife. This monologue reveals who McClane really is and why we love this movie so much.
It’s a Wonderful Life
Growing up, we all sat in front of the bright lights of the Christmas tree, watched as George Bailey found his purpose and we dreamt about a lovely little place called Bedford Falls. With all its charms and kindness, Bedford seemed like the perfect little Christmas town that was too quaint to exist in the real world. However, there is a small town in Upstate New York, Seneca Falls, that claims it is the real-life Bedford Falls and you can discover all its magic by visiting during the Christmas season.
Seneca Falls’ holiday website claims that this idyllic town is likely Frank Capra’s inspiration for the film’s set design. Similarities between the Victorian-style homes, the old bridge, and globe street lamps all add to the case that Seneca Falls is the original Bedford Falls.
Of course, what would a claim like this mean if the people didn’t take the opportunity to turn their town into a movie lover’s haven during the holiday season. Every December they host an “It’s a Wonderful Life” Festival where one can catch special guests, Christmas light replicas and a screening of the film. So, if you find yourself nostalgic for simpler times during the holiday season, you may want to head to Seneca Falls to experience some Christmas magic.
Bridget Jones’ Diary
For “tragic spinsters” everywhere Bridget Jones’ Diary is a New Year’s classic, packed with impossible resolutions, cringe-worthy awkwardness and clumsy attempts at love. While Jones is usually taking the brunt of the embarrassment, in one chaotic scene, her two love interests prove to be a bit clumsy themselves.
In a recent interview with GQ, Colin Firth explained that the dramatic fight between him and his co-star Hugh Grant was originally scripted to be a serious duel. However, when the actors recognized they hadn’t been in a fight since their youth and a scuffle between these two characters might be more slapstick and sloppy than tough and polished, they reworked the scene and left us with this comedic gem:
Now, get to binge-watching!
Happy New Year!!